You’re not a spammer, are you?

emailI am always interested to see how spam is viewed differently by my clients, based upon which side of the inbox they are on. Almost all my clients dislike spam and want me to install spam filters on their email accounts and website forms. On the other hand, when it comes to advertising their products and services, they have a difficult time viewing their broadcast e-mails as spam.

To succeed in any business, you have to view your business from the customer’s point of view. Your -to them will be unwelcome unless it meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • it was requested
  • it addresses a need of theirs (not just their market segment)
  • it is appropriate to them at this moment in time
  • it is not too frequent that they get annoying
  • it is not too rare for them to remember their relationship with you
  • it is difficult for them to view, use or unsubscribe from

Even if it meets these criteria, it still may not be welcome. They may just be having a bad day. Any whim on your customer’s part can cause them to click the “This is Spam” button; and that’s bad.

When they (or you) do that, it sends a report to the Internet Service Provider that you are a spammer. If enough of your recipients do this, your provider will block your domain to all their members. This is bad.

How do you avoid being reported as a spammer?

  1. Don’t send spam
    • send only to opt-in emails,
    • send appropriate, carefully timed emails, and
    • remove unsubscribes instantly
  2. Don’t use your e-mail account to send e-mails,
    • use a professional service (see below)

Professional Services

There are companies that will not only send the e-mails for you, they will:

  • handle the unsubscribe requests,
  • provide templates for professional looking results,
  • gather statistics on how many people opened and clicked, and
  • dipense advice on how best to word, time and send your e-mail.

These companies exist based upon their good relationship with the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) that receive their mail, so they negotiate on your behalf to make sure your mail gets through.

One company that has worked with my clients is iContact, which allows user to send personalized text or HTML messages, RSS feeds, and surveys from any computer, and automatically keep track of their subscriptions. They allow a great amount of flexibility in designing your own look and feel to match your company branding efforts, which is important to me as a designer. Other leading companies are Constant Contact and MailChimp.

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